(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI, have reported that low bone-density medications, such as Fosamax, Boniva, and Actonel (also known as bisphosphonates) may have a protective effect for endometrial cancer.
In this study, which is now in its fifth year, all participants were asked to complete a supplemental questionnaire, which included questions about their use of medications that treat thinning bones.
Questionnaires from a total of 29,254 women were included in the analysis. Data for the study were collected from the National Cancer Institute’s Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Screening Trial, which collected data on all cancer outcomes for trial participants.
Women recruited for the trial were aged 55 to 70 years. Other inclusion criteria for the analysis included women who had not had a prior hysterectomy. Women who had omitted information on use of bone medication from their questionnaire were excluded. Women without a cancer diagnosis at the time of the questionnaire were stratified into two groups: women who reported current or past use of a bisphosphonate, defined as “ever used”, and women who had never used such medications.
The researchers found that the rate of endometrial cancer among women who had taken bisphosphonates was approximately half that of women who had never taken the medication (9.6 vs. 18.7 per 10,000 person years). The effect was more significant with less-aggressive cancers.
“The results of the study suggest that use of low bone-density medications may have a protective effect on endometrial cancer, or that women who take them get a less-aggressive cancer,” says Sharon Hensley Alford, PhD, lead author of the study, and a researcher in Public Health Services at Henry Ford Hospital. He added that this study alone would not change clinical practice, and more study is necessary.